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Monday, 20 May 1985
Page: 2135

Senator LEWIS(3.27) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

I wish to refer to some aspects of the report. The Commissioner reported in his 1982-83 report that staffing and establishments were not adequate for the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Australian Capital Territory to discharge its functions fully. Apparently, in response to those comments, at the commencement of the year under review the Secretary to the Attorney-General's Department authorised an increase in the number of operative staff to 69. The Commissioner reported:

Our lack of establishments cover for this new figure throughout the year has meant that we would not have been able to utilise it fully.

If one can read through the Public Service jargon, because the Commissioner does not want to upset the Government by stating bluntly what the situation is, in effect, he is saying that on one hand the Commission was given an increase of 69 in operative staff but that its establishment was not increased. So the Commission was not able to employ the extra 69 staff. The Commissioner continued:

The overall situation in 1983-84 did not change very much . . .

He went on:

. . . a complete re-organisation of the Branch towards the end of the financial year gives hope that the situation will be remedied for 1984-85.

The financial year 1984-85 will be over in a little over a month. It seems to me strange that commissioners in charge of complicated and difficult operations, as is this Commissioner, report in such a manner. He indicated that he was desperately in need of staff. This was recognised by the Department, but nothing was done about it. One of the difficulties he mentions is created by the reliance on postal services and the difficulties in the Australian Capital Territory in connection with the regular delivery of mail.

Finally in regard to this report I wish to raise the question of the cost of the operation. A statement of revenue in the report shows that the total net revenue accruing to the Commission for the year of the report was $2,834,931 but I cannot find, in any succinct form, any statement of the cost of running the Commission. I suppose that these would be recorded in some other document, or it may very well be that if I were an accountant and had the time and the necessary calculating equipment I could work out for myself the cost of operating the Commission. I do wish that when people file these reports they set out a simple statement of revenue and expenditure so that those of us who are charged with the responsibility of looking into these matters are able to see what the true situation is.

Question resolved in the affirmative.